Fri, Dec 25, 2009 - Page 3 News List

CROSS STRAIT TALKS: Taichung residents’ lives back to normal as negotiator leaves

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER, IN NANTOU

The lives of Taichung City residents returned to normal yesterday as barbed wire barricades were removed on the departure of China’s top negotiator, as protesters followed him to Nantou County.

Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) Chairman Chen Yunlin’s (陳雲林) day began with a visit to the Chung Tai Chan Monastery (中台禪寺) in Puli Township (埔里), followed by a disaster zone in Hsinshan Village (新山村), Shueili Township (水里), which is still recovering from Typhoon Morakot.

Falun Gong practitioners and pro-independence groups lined the road leading to the monastery. Security personnel and the two groups scuffled when Buddhist Master Wei Chueh (惟覺) took Chen on an impromptu tour of the monastery’s museum.

The master promoted Buddhist doctrine, saying it is about benevolence, respect, tolerance and wisdom. He also said Confucius’ (孔子) teachings were part of “Chinese culture” across the Taiwan Strait and around the world.

Saying cross-strait relations were finally bearing fruit after 60 years of separation, the master said that peace, stability and happiness were the common hope of religious people and institutions and also of society in general, the two sides of the Taiwan Strait and the world.

The master praised the Chinese envoy for his demeanor during his stay, saying Chen “fully represented Chinese culture by respecting different opinions and believing everybody had the right to speak.”

Chen said he empathized with the master.

When cross-strait tensions were high and “dark clouds were in the sky,” he said, the master would make strenuous efforts to improve cross-strait ties and hoped to see “dark clouds clear and blue skies appear.”

Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) Chairman Chiang Pin-kung (江丙坤) said Buddhism and the government’s cross-strait policy were pursuing the same goal and that this would improve the livelihoods of all.

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